LONDON - Newcastle's miserable start to the season suffered another blow with a dramatic late 3-1 defeat to Championship side Nottingham Forest on Wednesday to crash out of the League Cup at the second round.
There was no such strife for Premier League high flyers Everton and Watford, who continued their unbeaten starts to the campaign with victories over Rotherham and Reading respectively to make round three.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez had been fiercely criticised for his negative approach in defeat to Chelsea on Sunday that left the Magpies with just one point from their opening three league games.
Benitez made seven changes for the visit to the City Ground but those coming in did their case little good as Daryl Murphy headed the hosts in front inside two minutes. That looked like being enough for Forest, until Salomon Rondon registered his first Newcastle goal with practically the visitors' first decent chance two minutes into stoppage time.
However, Forest weren't to be denied as Matty Cash and Gil Dias struck in six added minutes to reach the last 32. "I don't agree that Forest were the better team and I'm not concerned by how we played," said a defiant Benitez.
"We did not create many chances so we need to improve in attack and keep working hard. It's a long season, we knew it was going to be hard but we have confidence in ourselves."
Everton got the job done much earlier as Gylfi Sigurdsson and a double from Dominic Calvert-Lewin eased Marco Silva's men into the next round with a 3-1 win at Goodison. Watford may be joint top of the Premier League with three wins from three, but the Hornets also have impressive depth as Javi Gracia made 11 changes for a 2-0 victory at Reading.
Isaac Success and Domingos Quina on his debut ensured it was a successful night for Gracia's men. Millwall also reached round three after twice coming from behind to beat Plymouth 3-2 thanks to Aiden O'Brien's 89th minute winner.